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San Jose State cuts faculty, reduces enrollment to meet $18-million budget shortfall

Pink slips sent to 76 employees, but union hopes to spare some from layoffs

Seventy-six employees at San Jose State University received layoff notices Thursday, and 48 more will be reassigned to different positions, university spokeswoman Pat Harris said.

"There are employees finding out right now that they're the ones getting laid off," Harris said at about 3 p.m. Thursday, adding that they started handing out letters at 10 a.m.

The university hopes the staff reduction will help reduce their $18 million projected budget shortfall for the 2010-2011 fiscal year.

Last year, the university staved the projected budget gap by implementing a yearlong furlough agreement that will expire on June 30, Harris said.

Although tenured faculty is safe from layoffs, Harris said, part-time faculty is not.

In addition to the staff layoffs and reassignments, the university will also eliminate 49 vacant staff and seven vacant management positions. They will also find alternate sources of funding for 21 positions previously funded by the state.

Harris said that the main reason for the budget shortfall is that enrollment began to skyrocket just as the state budget hit the skids. Now the university is trying to decrease enrollment to match reduced state funding.

She said they reduced their headcount this year by more than 5,000 students from the 2008-2009 school year.

As a result of Thursday's staff reduction, Harris said, students can expect more shuffling around of classes and possibly more difficulties with administrative paperwork.

"The paperwork has flowed seamlessly in the past," she said. "That's not going to be the case now."

But Pat Gantt, President of the California State University employee's union, said the union has plans to reduce the number of layoffs.

"This is just the starting point," said Gantt.

Gantt said the union will be working hard to mitigate the layoffs in negotiations by July 1. "We're saddened that the university has had to take this step," he said.

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